When she was just 15-years-old, Mandy Moore was considered to be one of the hottest pop sensations. However, she’s successfully showing she can do it all and has the movie credits and acting talent behind her to prove it. In her latest film, Because I Said So, she stars with a quite an impressive cast. In the romantic comedy, Milly (Moore) is the youngest of three sisters and she’s also the last to find love. Her overbearing mother, Daphne (Diane Keaton) can’t handle the fact that her daughter isn’t having luck finding a boyfriend so she takes out a personal ad without Milly knowing. Of course, she does find out and its drama when she learns the guy she’s dating was really a set up by her controlling mother.
ComingSoon.net sat down with the two lovely ladies to talk about the Michael Lehmann-directed film.
ComingSoon.net: Do you still live with your family and have you learned to cook from this film?
Mandy Moore: I still live with family, or my family lives with me. I have an older and a younger brother and they both live with me here in LA. And then as far as the cooking, no. Honestly, I don’t really make New Year’s resolutions but it was a goal that I set for myself, to take some cooking classes. I can’t make a grilled cheese. No skills in the kitchen, so this film didn’t rub off on me.
CS: What are your criteria for roles and is your music career on hold?
Moore: I actually just finished my record which was sort of a two year process in terms of writing and everything. And I think in that sense it’s just about prioritizing. The last couple years, I’ve really been sort of focused on acting and I feel really lucky because great projects sort of keep coming my way. I guess the criteria that I look for, it gets increasingly difficult because when you have the privilege of working with someone like Diane, it’s kind of like, “Well, where do you go from there.” But it depends on the scripts and the character and just everybody involved, the other actors and directors. I don’t know. It’s sort of just like a gut feeling when you find something, you’re like, “Yes, I want to sink my teeth into that.”
CS: Did any of the meddlesome mom moments ring true? Did mom ever weigh in on the boyfriends?
Moore: No. I feel really lucky in a way. Lucky or unlucky. I know my mom cares but just not enough to really meddle too much.
CS: You’re a mom but your kids aren’t of the age yet that you have to do the “Because I Said So,” or do you? And how strict of a parent are you?
Diane Keaton: That is the hardest question because I think that structure is a nice thing to have, it’s reassuring for kids but at the same time of course I don’t see myself like the mother in this or in “Family [Stone].” I think that you find your way along the way, don’t you? I think it changes as you go. I think that’s what’s so amazing about being a parent, is that it grows on you in a way that you never would have expected. It’s more intense than ever and as you grow it gets even more intense. My daughter is 11 now so I’m probably watching her enter into that phase of being a tween, she’s already a tween, and that’s fantastically amazing to watch. When you were going through it yourself you didn’t really picture what it was like to look at a girl grow into womanhood. It’s astonishing. I love it. I feel so sad about the fact that she’s growing up but amazed by it and touched by it.
CS: There’s the theme of not being like your mom. Can you talk about that please?
Keaton: I think in some ways I am like my mother because my mother was a very sensitive woman and very supportive of me. So in some ways I sort of feel like I am like her. I don’t think that I am the same kind of overbearing mother but I’m probably an overbearing mother. It’s just the method of my being overbearing is a little more hidden maybe but just as intense. I think that a lot of overbearing mothers feel that way. So it’s just the way you deal with it, I don’t know.
CS: Any scenes where you couldn’t keep yourself from laughing?
Moore: At first, I don’t know about scenes where I couldn’t contain myself from laughing. There are always those moments where sometimes there’s something funny that’s said right before the camera rolls and you just can’t get it out of your head. You feel so unprofessional because you keep laughing and cracking up during a scene. I think the scene that I felt like kind of the most uncomfortable and awkward in front of everyone at first was describing the orgasm. That took a little getting used to, to just kind of jump into that. Once you’ve got a couple takes under your belt, it’s fine.
CS: Did you add anything to the orgasm, or was it all scripted?
Moore: It was kind of all written out but it was sort of written in a way where obviously she’s kind of finding her words and finding the right way to approach it with her mother, so I think I kind of infused a little bit of myself in there as well.
CS: Mandy said she was embarrassed having to explain the orgasm in that scene.
Keaton: I don’t believe that!
CS: How was it sitting there listening to her explain?
Keaton: It was fun, I loved it, are you kidding? It was a blast. That was fun.
CS: No advice given?
Keaton: Are you kidding? Never. I wouldn’t go near an orgasm. No.
CS: If you were Milly, would you have gone crazy?
Moore: Yeah, yeah. It wasn’t really hard to find the annoying, grating fester from Diane’s character. It really did drive me batty.
CS: What was the repartee like with Diane? And how awkward was the underwear scene?
Moore: Meeting Diane, I was completely nervous. I remember walking in to Michael Lehmann’s office during preproduction and sort of shaking her hand for the first time and being completely in awe and nervous, like how am I going to pretend like she’s my mother? I love her so much, she’s on a pedestal anyway so I sort of tried to use that a little bit. But just like any other co-star, you just sort of get to know each other and everybody sort of opens up. I think it was nice having Lauren [Graham] and Piper [Perabo] there a lot because all girls, we just wanted to be gossipy and talk about shopping and clothes and boys and all that stuff. And the scene with us in our underwear was particularly difficult because we kept going back and forth between- – you know, Piper was fine. She was the one I think right off the bat that was like, “Yeah, all right, I’ll be in a thong, I don’t care.” Lauren and I were petrified and kept going back and forth between like should we have body doubles, should we do it ourselves? I’m super self-conscious and what girl really feels comfortable about being on a gigantic movie screen with her butt there? Just everything is in full view. But in the end, we all decided just to dive right in and go for it. Why not? I’m embarrassed of it but yeah, it’s over.
CS: Your character Daphne was apprehensive about turning 60. How did you feel about it?
Keaton: Whoo, that’s so interesting. My dad died when he was 68 so to turn 60 is like, “oh, I’m 60.” You really are older. You’re very definitely reaching a new phase in your life. I really am happy I’m around, number one. I love being alive and moderately healthy. You just go, “OK. All right. Moving on.” I mean, what can I do? I’m not gonna get depressed about it ’cause I’m sort of amazed by how life has changed so much. I’m not really who I thought I would be, and the process of living is much more of a mystery than I ever imagined and also much more compelling as you go along, and it’s just the more you know, the less you know. And the less you know the more amazed you are by life. When you’re young you’re just kind of plowing ahead, going with your goal. And I really accomplished what I wanted in my dream life, which was to be an actress in the movies. I got to do that. But once you do that and get older everything changes and life is so much more interesting than what I ever imagined it would be. A lot of the time the hobbies that I’m interested in are so much more compelling to me. I never would have thought I’d be a hobby sort of person but I really am. I’m a collector and I’m doing a couple of books this year and I’m trying to do a furniture line. I want to do as much as I possibly can. What’s odd about getting older is you’re supposed to roll over and be happy and be calm and relaxed. But the actual opposite has happened with me. I want to do more, pack in as much as I can before it’s adios!
CS: What were your impressions of Mandy?
Keaton: I love Mandy. The thing about Mandy is, what I really love about her, she’s just a little workhorse, like a filly out there. She loves to work and you can see her progress as an actress. She’s a very emotional actress but she’s funny, she’s adorable and she’s beautiful to look at. In this movie she looks to me like Claudia Cardinale. She’s got this gorgeous face. It’s going to be really interesting to watch her in life. I think she’s going to be really surprising.
CS: What do you expect to see in the future?
Keaton: More. Mandy Moore. More of Mandy Moore.
CS: A lot of singers don’t like singing in movies. Do you?
Moore: I know, I don’t.
CS: Did they add that to the script or were you hesitant about it?
Moore: I’m always a little bit hesitant because I think it’s important, for me at least, to keep them as separate as possible. But Diane was all for it and I was like, “Okay, if Diane wants to do it, I’ll do it.” But I actually had a lot of fun. It was sort of a different experience because we all had to rehearse together and we went in the studio together to record it. I’ve never been so nervous to sing in front of people before. It was an interesting experience but it was so much fun to actually choose the numbers in the film. We had a great time, working out our harmonies and everything. Felt like we were in like a girl group.
CS: With each movie, you prove something new. What’s left?
Moore: I definitely am looking to do some more dramatic roles and I don’t know. Like I was explaining before, it’s sort of a gut feeling when you read a script, you’re like, ‘That, I really feel will challenge me and that I want to sink my teeth into.’ I’d love to do a period piece. I don’t know. I’m just getting started. I feel like there’s a whole wealth of options out there to try my hand at.
CS: How involved were you with the script?
Keaton: I put my two cents worth in, definitely. I give a lot of notes, as much as I can. I know that pictures are pretty much what they are. You can tweak them and mess with them and put in ideas here and there but the core of what they are is essentially the same even if you try to pee on it, like most of us do in some way. So I’m sure it didn’t mean much. But they were wonderful people, Jesse and everybody and Michael Lehmann the director. They were very nice about listening to what I had to say.
CS: Did you have input on the lines?
Keaton: I’m not really a line type, I’m more the big ideas-I don’t mean big ideas, don’t get me wrong-but “this scene didn’t seem quite right because,” it’s about the tone of it. I’m interested in the tone, like how’s the scene working tonally? Does that seem believable? Maybe yeah, maybe not
CS: So once you’re on set that’s pretty much it?
Keaton: Yeah. You know you make a deal, “I’m gonna act in your movie. I don’t want to undermine the movie.” It’s not my job to undermine the movie. My job is to try to do the best I can with what I can and if they want to hear what I have to say and they’re agreeable to that, that’s fine but I can’t get in the way when we’re shooting. You only have so much time. You don’t want to eat it up and destroy all that money that was invested in it. I feel bad for people who give money to finance movies. Imagine what that’s like. If a movie costs $100 million, that’s outrageous, that’s a lot of money. And if I’m in a $100 million movie, which by the way I haven’t been in, but let’s say I am hypothetically, I don’t want to be the person who makes it cost $120. And then what? It’s bone chilling. I don’t know how people live with it. Sometimes I fantasize about what it would be like to be a studio executive on a $100 million movie the day that it opens. I feel the anxiety. I couldn’t live with it. I couldn’t do it
CS: What was that laugh?
Moore: That was the bane of my existence. Yes, it was scripted. And Michael kept referencing the Sandra Bullock movie where she kind of does the snort [“Miss Congeniality”]. I haven’t seen that so he was like, “you know, like what she does in ‘Miss Congeniality'” and I didn’t really have a frame of reference. But yes, that was kind of the bane of my existence because they’re like, “we want it sillier and goofier.” For some reason, I felt completely awkward and embarrassed to just come up with this sort of unnatural laugh. I was doing ADR like laughing for 10 minutes, trying to find the perfect laugh. Who knows how it’s all pieced together in the end?
Because I Said So opens on Friday, February 2.